An Indeterminate Amount of Incredible Rap Songs You Need To Hear.....Right Now (Part 2)

The following people contributed many beautiful words...
King Louie - "Man Up Band Up Remix (Get Money)" (2011)

LoKey lives up to his name on the production side, and the song's concept -- aside from serving as Louie's mission statement -- is unassuming. That's also why it has sustained so well; Louie has flashier songs, harder ones, and more lyrical moments, but there's a simple, effortless subtlety to "Man Up Band Up Remix (Get Money)" that gives it a purity in his catalog. There are plenty of quotable moments ("no slaves dog, our whips are cars" "AK 47 spit, bitch, duck or soak" etc.) but the line that most resonates with the song's glacial perfection is the phrase that ends each verse: "Ain't nothin else to fuckin' do." While there's no literal connection, it's reminiscent of another Chicago artist; Common's "Nuthin To Do" from Resurrection had a similar low-stakes quality. Both tracks seem like accidental children of Chicago's wide streets and spacious topography, capturing the humbling expansiveness of the midwest and the lack of opportunity therein. David Drake

Mic Terror - "Juke Them Hoes" (2008)

Although he can play the position of a traditional cocky bastard Rapper in the vein of Positive K, Chicago's Mic Terror has always been at his best when doling out lessons in lust, as evidenced by 2010's smutty Teddy Pendergrass-inspired 'Can I Borrow A Feeling' mixtape and the 2007 Myspace classic/Chi-Town anthem 'Juke Them Hoes' here. In a pefectly executed coup de grâce which ended the previously invulnerable tradition of awkward rapping over bogus four-to-the-floor beats, 'Juke Them Hoes' finally rectifies the central problem of Hip House by toning down the House & homoeroticism to ratchet up the Hip & hoes. Richard Tre Mane

OJ Simpson ft. Strong Arm Steady - "Outside" (2010)

“Outside” sounds like three songs playing at the same time, each thrashing for attention and hemorrhaging garbled samples. Explosions, blaxploitation quips, alien whinnying, and all manner of kung fu screams and howls descend upon the spectre of boom bap and light his face on fire. “Outside” is Madlib imbibing RZA and realizing of a tradition of serrated, malignant beats that challenge rap conventions. Guilty Simpson and Strong Arm Steady need only bring competent flows to sound like supermen. Madlib's beat CD does the rest. Evan Nabavian

Ice Cube (N.W.A.) - "A Bitch Is A Bitch" (1989)

Contrary to popular rap belief, "Straight Outta Compton" isn't the first NWA album. It's actually called "NWA & The Posse," released in 1987 on Macola Records. This album was re-released in 1989 by Ruthless Records, & a song titled "Scream" was swapped out for a track by a very young Ice Cube called "A Bitch Iz A Bitch." It was also featured on the b-side of N.W.A's "Express Yourself" LP single. & for the record, he wasn't talking about women, he was addressing bitches. Tony Grands

Thirstin Howl III - "Brooklyn Hard Rock" (1999)

Due to my indifference to fashion and lack of a Y chromosome, I simply don't understand the behavior of Polo addicts in the wild. Rap people, like fashion people, can be ridiculous in their commitment to appearance; combine them and you get the good (Quik in his Givenchy sweatsuit; Rae in Champion; pretty pretty Rocky in Wang; Camp Lo in everything) or the terrible (Cam’s all pink everything; BAPE anything, which looks terribly dated now and has not yet reached the ironic appreciation phase). Thirstin’s love of Polo is therefore puzzling to me, but his status as the OG punchline king with the cool rasp (sorry, Weezy) allows me to overlook it. 'Brooklyn Hard Rock' features an ungraceful flow and grating hook, but the verses make up for it, and years later it spawned a pretty good song by Project Mayhem built around the same glorious Galt MacDermot horn break. (The break is from the instrumental version of MacDermot’s original song, whose anti-war lyrics are themselves a sample of an Allen Ginsberg poem. Circle of life, baby.) Logan Melissa

Blaqstarr ft. Jhi Ali - "Stuntastic" (2008)

Diplo. Is he easy to dislike? Yeah. Does he appropriate foreign music for his own gain, and often reproduce them at a lesser quality? Yeah. Did he master the Block Beataz style for this opening track of Fear and Loathing in Hunts Vegas? Sure, let’s go with that. Diplo facsimiles the proto-Cloud Rap sound that the Block Beataz have been known for, as he sampled Underworld’s “Born Slippy” to great use, which provides a great springboard for the opening verse from Jhi Ali. His high pitched voice couldn’t have found a better match than this beat, as he floats just above the beat transporting the listener to a world where “with a guitar on my back” is far more than a minor line and is worth quoting and cherishing. When “Cloud Rap” gets a wiki page, this song should be highlighted as one of the early standout tracks of the style. David Turner

El-P - "Linda Tripp" (1999)
Long before Husalah's 'Fuck A-Wax' and Young Buck's infamous poverty-induced meltdown, El-P exposed Sole as the most desperate fanatic since Yolanda Saldívar via recorded phone conversations. It was disappointing to hear Anticon's flagship artist back-peddling. While his own diss song ('Dear Elpee') was barely listenable, it expressed valid criticism of Company Flow's pretentious "independent as fuck" mantra. To this day I'm thoroughly convinced Sole's accusations at least partly influenced the launch of Def Jux, even inspiring Vordul Mega's first official appearance on record. 'Linda Tripp' was a scathing rebuttal. El-P's assault was brutally personal, yet completely dismissive of Sole's existence, casting him right back into obscurity. H.L.

Do Or Die - "Can U Make It Hot" (2000)

While the trio is known primarily for slow-rolling Traxster-laced pimp anthems, their catalog has always had some nicely diverse moments. But "Can U Make It Hot" should have been a hit. Do or Die adapted Chicago's tongue-twisting rap style to a track that manages the difficult task of sounding both unaplogetically populist yet completely singular. Pop music's toolbox has seldom been used so successfully-yet-cynically. Listen to that R&B hook, to the propulsive, taught rhythm of the beat, and try to avoid getting caught up in its momentum. One of the most interesting eras in hip-hop was that late-90s early-2000s moment where hip-hop was completely unafraid of appealing to dancefloors, women, and populist instincts in general. David Drake

Open Mike Eagle - "NH2" (2011)

Hellfyre Club affiliate Open Mike Eagle’s Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes was a quality piece of criminally underrated L.A. meta-rap, and if you haven’t heard it yet, I recommend you take care of that now. Last year I latched onto the laid-back “Nightmares”, but lately I keep coming back to “NH2 (Grins & Lies)”. That’s “niggas hurt too” for those keeping score, and suitably, the track delves into the bottomless cool people seem to think black folks have thanks to rappers & professional athletes, or more specifically, how that shit is a myth. Why is nobody else saying this stuff on record? Craig Jenkins

Husalah - "Sleep With Da Fishes" (2006)

Husalah is one of the most charismatic people to ever touch a mic and this song epitomizes the Bay Area scene's ability to make rap music that can be fun and catchy, without ever becoming silly or losing its edge. Produced by Nick Peace, the beat is ultramodern; sounding like robots building an airplane in musical form. It comes from a time when Husalah was a fugitive of the law for cocaine trafficking charges and recorded hundreds of songs on the lam that bounce between expressing genuine remorse about his life decisions and tracks like this one, where he boasts about everything selling drugs has afforded him in life. That ying and yang makes the complete ignorance of tracks like this from Hus that much more interesting, knowing that in the back of his mind he is pondering the imminent consequences of his actions while rapping about all the fun he is having. The ad libs at the end of the song perfectly characterize that contradiction; Hus sarcastically encouraging kids to become lawyers and doctors rather than "kingpin dope dealers" like him, or is he being serious about that? Thomas

Shaquille O'Neal ft. Method Man & Rza - "No Hooks" (1994)

It's safe to say Shazam won't be remembered for his skills on the mic, but three things are very obvious here: A) Before Bobby devolved into a PCP-fried Timothy Leary type with delusions of Kung-Fu mastery, the dude had a great schtick going with the "Rzarecta" style. B) "Don't call me Shaq no more, call me Superman Emblem!" Rare refined is it, that the least respected rapper can deliver the song's most powerful line. C) Clifford over minor key pianos and low-static-fuzz is far superior to all other forms of Method Man. Maxwell Cavaseno


  1. "Sleep With The Fishes" is the greatest goddamn song. I freaked out the first time I heard that beat drop.

  2. Thomas has basically been picking my top 5 Bay tunes from the last decade so far.

    Ey Tre Mane I thought it was Kirk Van Houten though?

    100% - (B) on No Hook

  3. This series of posts thus far >>>>

    Nice work, internets.

  4. Yeah, "Sleep With The Fishes" has stupid dumb retarded bass.

  5. "NH2" is really weird and I think I kind of like it haha.
    I was fully intent on making a smart-ass comment about Yukmouth's "Stuntastic" being better than Blaqstarr's, but shit that song is hella dope too.